The Washington State Patrol says that alcohol or drugs played a role in a Pend Oreille County car crash that killed three people Wednesday.
However, in an interview with a local TV station, a passenger refuted the allegations.
Richard Torosian, 29, Kayleen Sherwood, 32, and O’Shan Nick, 29, were killed when the 2006 Kia Spectra they were in drove off a cliff near Cee Cee Ah Creek and Leclerc roads at about 6:30 a.m. The location is about 5 miles north of Usk and east of the Pend Oreille River, the WSP reported in a news release.
The driver, Aaron P. Pierre, 33, was injured and transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. Another passenger, Anthony Shirahama, 22, was taken to Newport Hospital.
Talking to KXLY 4 News on Thursday, Shirahama said the five people in the vehicle were “sober,” adding that WSP investigators didn’t talk to him before publishing their brief media report.
“I was aware through the whole thing,” he told the TV station. “Everyone was so aware.”
Multiple efforts to reach a WSP spokesperson Thursday were unsuccessful. A spokesperson for the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, which owns the land where the crash occurred, and whose members were passengers, said the tribe’s government would be shut down for “several days” due to the incident. She declined to comment further.
Shirahama said he, his wife, Sherwood, and three friends were hanging out on Gibraltar Rock mountain, when at about 2 a.m. they left to go down the hill, the station reported. Once they got to the intersection, he said Pierre attempted a three-point turn and miscalculated, which is when the Kia’s tires went over the cliff.
The 22-year-old said he was able to escape from the front passenger side before the car went over the edge. He told the TV station he injured his shoulder when he slammed into a tree, but was able to make his way back up the incline and started walking down Ce Ce Ah Creek Road looking for help.
A motorist apparently stopped at about 6:30 a.m., he said, and a call was placed to 911.
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